By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University and Evergreen State University were tied for most of the second half after WU scored just 1:56 into the second period, but Juan Oropeza broke the tie on a goal with 4:22 left, sending the Geoducks to a 2-1 victory over the Bearcats on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Sparks Field. Evergreen State remained undefeated at 3-0, while Willamette moved to 1-3-1.
The Geoducks struck first on a goal by Ryan Porch at 37:16. Porch shot from 14 yards into the lower left corner of the goal after receiving a through pass from Nate Boatright.
Willamette's equalizing goal at 46:56 was tallied by Alan Hernandez (So., F, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS) following a lengthy pass from the left side by Jack Elton (Jr., D, Corte Madera, CA/Redwood HS). Hernandez shot from 13 yards on the right side of the goal, placing the ball low and toward the left corner of the net.
The winning goal was tapped in by Oropeza at 85:38 after Calder saved a shot by Tanner Williams from eight yards on the right side. Williams shot toward the left post. Calder was able to deflect the shot, but the ball went up in the air. It landed as Calder and Oropeza battled for possession. Oropeza scored from about one yard out near the left post.
Each team played at a high pace and showed significant technical skiill. Evergreen State outshot the Bearcats 18-12, including a 6-3 edge in shots on goal. Calder finished with four faces for Willamette, while Angel Guerra earned one save for the Geoducks.
An Evergreen State defender also cleared the ball in front of the goal in the first half at 30:29. The defensive play prevented a goal by Diego Ochoa (Fr., F, Coronado, CA/Coronado HS), who rushed onto a long pass just inside the left edge of the penalty area. Ochoa eluded Guerra about six yards out, before shooting from a very difficult angle.
The Geoducks were called for nine offside violations, including eight in the first half. Porch was ruled onside when he received the through pass that led to the game's first goal.
WU and ESC combined for 33 fouls during the game. Twenty-two of the fouls were called on the Bearcats. Williams and Boatright each received yellow cards for the Geoducks. Liam Main (So., D, San Francisco, CA/Marin Academy) was the only Willamette player to receive a caution.
The Bearcats will open Northwest Conference play against defending champion Whitworth University on Saturday, Sept. 19. Game time at Sparks Field is set for 2:30 p.m. (PDT). Last year, Whitworth won the NWC title by one point over the Bearcats, who took second place.